Heston ‘s Spiced Popping Candy Chocolate tart Recipe, Honey Semifreddo
Popping candy. Space dust. The stuff of childhood. I wanted it to make a rather Grown up dessert with a childish twist. But could I find popping candy at any of the sweetshops in West London? No. Haribo – Yes. Sherbet dib dabs, even – Yes. But Space Dust? No….Not a chance. So by the power of Google, I discovered Mrs Kibbles old fashioned sweetshop in Brewer Street.
Off I went and bought the majority of their stock. Each packet is only 7 grams you see and I needed closer to 100g.
Sometimes I get an idea in my head and I need to cook something unusual. Heston Blumenthal is good at delivering the goods on that front. His Popping Candy Chocolate Tart is something I wanted to try so here it is! I decided I would serve it with a Nigella recipe – Honey Semifreddo. I had planned to use that recipe as part of my entry for Maison Cupcake’s July challenge, but I was quite unable to get myself done by the 31st so I missed out on that (sorry Sarah!).
The recipe for the popping candy chocolate tart is freely available here, but I am providing a version below with some comments on what I did that I hope will help if you decide to make it …!
So Heston calls this a great everyday cake… (if you have a team of chefs in the kitchen, maybe..). I call it something to bring out at a dinner party. The base is delicious, the mousse smooth and silky and the glaze on the top strong and flavourful. It is worth the effort as you can make it the day before and it retains it’s pop for a day or two.At the very least, if you need a recipe for a really lovely cold chocolate mousse, use this one it is superb.
For the popping-candy base
- 85g whole hazelnuts
- 40g milk chocolate
- 2 tsp mixed spice
- 100g popping candy (the biggest you can find from your local sweet shop)
For the chocolate mousse
- 350g dark chocolate (try Green & Black’s or Cadbury’s Bournville)
- 400ml double cream
- Pinch of salt
For the chocolate glaze
- 20g chocolate (same type as for the mousse)
- 120ml water
- 8 whole coffee beans
- Couple of pinches of salt
- 30g cocoa powder
- 70g unrefined golden caster sugar
To make the base, preheat the oven to 180C/ 350F/Gas Mark 4 and roast the hazelnuts for about 10 minutes until lightly coloured. Blend to a paste in a food processor, THIS TAKES A LITTLE WHILE. then set aside.
Melt the milk chocolate in a bain-marie (a large basin over a saucepan of simmering shallow water — take care that the water does not touch the basin) and stir in the ginger spice and popping candy. THE POPPING CANDY WILL POP IF IT CONTACTS WATER SO KEEP WATER AWAY!
Next, fold in the hazelnut purée. Place the ring mould on a serving dish and gently press in the base mixture to a depth of about 1cm. KEEP THIS QUITE THIN.
Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, until hard.
To make the mousse, chop the chocolate into small pieces and place in a metal bowl. Bring 150ml of the cream to the boil in a small saucepan. Pour it over the chopped chocolate and stir extremely gently until all the chocolate has melted, watching carefully to ensure it doesn’t take on a granular texture. MAKE SURE THE CREAM IS PROPERLY BOILING> I had to repeat it as the first time the cream was not hot enough so the chocolate did not melt.
Add the salt to taste. What a great idea really gives it an interesting edge.
Once the chocolate cream has cooled to room temperature, lightly whip the remaining 250ml cream to soft peaks, but do not overwhip. Fold into the chocolate mix. Pour over the base in the ring mould and place in the fridge to set for two hours.
To make the glaze, chop up the chocolate and set aside. Place the water, coffee beans and salt in a pan, whisk in the cocoa powder, then set over a medium heat and simmer for about 3 minutes.
Meanwhile, put the sugar in a small pan and melt over a medium heat. Unrefined sugar will caramelise quickly, so keep an eye on it; when it does, pour over the coffee and cocoa mix. NOW HERE YOU NEED TO REMEMBER THE COCOA/WATER MIX MUST BE SIMMERING. THE SUGAR IS VERY HOT AND MAY SOLIDIFY BUT KEEP IT ON THE HEAT AND STIRRING AND IT WILL MELT IN JUST FINE.
— stand back, as it will bubble and spit. Beat in the chopped chocolate and, when melted, pass through a fine sieve. When cool, but still liquid, pour over the mousse to your preferred depth and return the cake to the fridge to set. THE FLAVOUR OF THE COFFEE BEANS IN THIS GLAZE IS FAB.
To serve, run a hot knife around the inside of the ring before removing the cake. When slicing it, again make sure the blade of the knife is nice and hot. ALSO MAKE SURE THAT UNLIKE ME YOU RUN THE KNIFE ROUND SMOOTHLY NOT IN A SAWING ACTION.
I dusted it with a gold lustre powder and a sugar flower but it does not need it, I was just getting carried away.
I served it with Nigella’s Honey Semifreddo. This really is a super quick recipe. I never made semifreddo before but it is so nice as it remains soft and creamy. The recipe is from the Nigella website, and I used individual little moulds rather than a cake tin and then topped it with some crumbled praline that I have previously made. Unfortunately they melt quickly so didn’t photograph well but I can assure you it is yummy…!
Heston and Nigella. A lovely combination. Who would have thought?